Style Illuminated

Our home decorating blog offers interior design tips and lighting ideas for today's home! Enjoy professional interior design advice, home decor ideas and inspiration.

  • The Reemergence of Stripes in Home Decorating

    Red and White Striped Walls

    It seems like people either like or dislike stripes. I happen to love using stripes in the home. Stripes can be incorporated into the decor through wall paint, area rugs, bedding, upholstered furniture, stair runners, and smaller accessories.

    I am currently eyeing a red and white striped rug for my apartment's entryway. Unfortunately, the rug has been sold out for a while - proof that stripes are becoming popular again!

    Striped Bedding

    You have decided you love stripes, what's next? As with any pattern, stripes dominate the design of the space. Therefore, you have to really commit to incorporating stripes in any room. Also, my personal suggestion is when designing a room is to have only one strong pattern in the room and let it be the centerpiece.

    For example, if you have a large window in the living room and have coverd it with a fabric with a bold pattern, I would suggest choosing a solid paint color for the walls and furniture with light or no patterns. However, don't be afraid to bring in other patterns more subtly through small rugs or pillows. 

    Vertical Striped Paint Color in Dining Room

    The pattern of stripes also has a psychological effect on the design. Horizontal lines lead the eye around the room. Vertical stripes direct the attention toward the top of the wall and the ceiling. They also make the ceiling seem higher than it is (bonus for homes with low ceilings).

    Black and White Striped Walls in Bathroom

    Striped Stair Runner

    What are your thoughts on using stripes in your home?

    Images: Blount Design, tinywhitedaisies, CasaSugar, Apartment Therapy, From Greenwich


  • Fourth of July Decor Theme: Ocean Blue with Jackie O.

    Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Picture

    This serene photo of Jackie O., vacationing in Portofino in 1961, inspired this 4th of July decor theme.  Patriotic style is typically characterized by military blues like navy or royal.  Instead of those cold versions of blue, this photo of Jackie O. made me create a palette of warm blues like ocean, teal and sea foam.  

    Accented with red accessories and spare nautical touches, warm blues are perfect in conveying patriotic style without hitting you over the head with the good ol' red, white and blue.   Plus, anything inspired by Jackie O. is sure to be a hit.  Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is a classic icon that will never go out of style.

    Sea Worthy Style

    By adding any of the above items you are on your way to creating a seaworthy look.  This look can be easily achieved by using ocean inspired textures, like sea glass, and colors like Sky Blue or Clear Ocean. You can also choose soft metal tones reminiscent of those on a well-loved ship.

    1. Maroon and Black Model Sailboat. 
    2. Recycled Glass Melon Table Lamp. 
    3. Howard Miller Propeller 9" Wide Alarm Clock.
    4. Robert Abbey 22 3/4" Peacock Blue Ceramic and Bronze Lamp.


    Collection inspired by Jackie O's scarf

    This collection of items was inspired by the scarf Jackie is wearing on the yacht.  Taking the red as inspiration from the scarf, incorporate it into your space with a chandelier with a red shade.  The classic pattern can be incorporated with pillows and  the blue colors through a lamp base, side table or stool.

    1. Sky Blue Glaze Ceramic Ottoman. 
    2. Red Ribbon Swag Style Plug-In Chandelier.  
    3. Melissa Ceramic Blue and Teal Table Lamp. 
    4. Small Madona Rectangular Pillow.  


    Nautical Style

    Get a patriotism nautical look by thinking outside of the box. The great maritime end table is perfect!  The rivet detail reminds me of a great sea liner. The Aqua chandelier provides an unexpected and happy color while staying on theme, while the red stool pulls its color inspiration right from our country's flag.  The turquoise of the room screen reminds me of those small villages in Greece.  That reminds me, it is summer.  Time to book a trip to Greece!  Anyone want to go with me?

    1. Maritime Brass and Reclaimed Teak End Table.  
    2. Aqua Blue Ribbon Swag Style Plug-In Chandelier.  
    3. Color Story Crimson Red 24" High Counter Stool.  
    4. Turquoise Blue Spider Web Room Screen.  


    (Post written by Angie & Michael.  Images:  Mark Shaw for Life magazine, Lamps Plus.)


  • Get the Look: 3 Steps to Refined Traditional

    Refined Traditional Bathroom

    Refined Traditional is associated with the subtle straight lines, the opulence of brushed metal and a hint of luxury.  This style is steadfast in tradition, yet is not stuffy, it suggests that you bring in a bit of luxe to juxtapose. 

    Here is how you can re-create our Refined Traditional look in three easy steps:

    1. Create Harmony and Cohesiveness
    The uniformity of a finish helps creates harmony and cohesiveness.  See how subtle the brushed metal scone base, towel bar, soap dispenser and waste basket seem to be? That is because your eye moves from object to object smoothly without stopping.

    This is a great designer trick that is easy to implement in any room.
    2. Opulence
    Add some opulence with a unique and unexpected piece.  In this case, the black zebra indoor outdoor rug adds an exotic feature while being very practical too. 

    Using an area rug, throw or pillows in with an unexpected pattern can do the same thing in your home décor.

    3. Furniture
    This refined bathroom vanity set is a perfect example of the subtle straight lines that define the Refined Traditional look. 

    If you like this look, consider the lines when selecting end tables, nightstands or even a dining table.

    Like what you see? Shop this Refined Traditional bathroom.


  • Dwell on Design 2011: Quick Recap

    Dwell on Design

    Over the past three days, I have been immersed in all things Dwell on Design.  From cool “green” home décor and stage panel discussions to seaweed sheets (yes, those are the ones that James Van Der Beek, aka Dawson from Dawson Creek, picked as one of his favorite items from the show). The focus of the event was on sustainability and environmentally friendly products. It was made abundantly clear that being green can be beautiful when well designed.

    If you didn’t make it, or just want to see some cool pictures from Dwell on Design, take a look at the Exclusive Extra album the Lamps Plus Facebook page.

  • Dwell on Design 2011: 5 Tips Overheard at The Designer is In Booth

    Dwell on Design Logo

    If you're looking to work with an interior designer or have ever wondered what that experience would be like, The Designer is In consultations at Dwell on Design were for you.  Interior designers provided complementary consultations - all you had to do was sign-up online and show up.  How easy is that? 

    The Designer is In booth

    As onlookers were encouraged to listen and sit in, I eagerly pulled up a chair.  I always enjoy listening to other designers and understanding how they approach design questions and challenges.  It takes an experienced designer to meet with a stranger and give concise, well-versed advice.

    Designers and Clients collaborating

    Here are five of the best design tips that were overheard at The Designer is In booth at Dwell on Design:

    1. Start with a Master Plan. Take time to figure out what you need to do and what you can do. A lot of people don't have the immediate funds for a big project.  But still, start with the master plan and then execute it over three or four years. By having a master plan you won't be left shortsighted and you can be confident about your decisions.

    2. Paint. It is the easiest and most cost effective way to create change in any room.

    Shop by Room

    3. Invest Well. When you buy well designed furniture, do your research before you pull out the wallet. Buy quality and consider timeless styles, colors and textures.  If you want to infuse the latest “IT” color, purchase some pillows, a throw or smaller accessories which can be easily changed out when that color becomes dated.  

    4. De-clutter. Purchase furniture that has storage.  From great looking storage ottomans to built-in bookcases, it all helps keep the clutter organized. 

    5. Hire a designer. “I want to do it but just don’t have a talent for design,” was a comment heard often at the consultations.  Today, designers work in a variety of ways - from hourly consultations and shopping trips to complete project management.  Designers are willing to help. 

    In the past, working with a designer was thought of as intimidating and for the social elite. Thank goodness times and attitudes have shifted.  Today, no matter your budget, designers are accessible and eager to help.  For me that was the main takeaways from today’s The Designer Is In booth at Dwell on Design. 

    Have you ever worked with a designer?  If so, leave a comment telling me about your experience.

    Top logo thanks to Dwell On Design.


  • Dwell on Design 2011: DESIGNINGreen

    Dwell on Design Green Logo

    If your passion for green design is as strong as your desire for the latest in contemporary furniture, then the panel discussion with Dwell President Michela O'Connor Abrams, Sustainable Furnishings Council's (SFC) Executive Director Susan Inglis, and DESIGNINGreen Leaders Kathy Ireland and Angelo Surmelis was a must see at Dwell on Design.

    The SFC is a coalition of members involved in the home furnishings industry including suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and interior designers.  The discussion included Ireland's and Surmelis' viewpoints on design and entrepreneurship.

    Kathy Ireland Home Logo

    Kathy Ireland's Chandelier

    Kathy Ireland is well known as a supermodel, her passion for sustainability and design runs deep. But what many people don’t realize is the extent of her global brand. One key element which Ireland attributes to her success is her due diligence prior to developing business relationships.  “It is vital to make sure that your partners have the same core values as you,” says Ireland. Lamps Plus is a proud partner with Kathy Ireland and offers her vast array of lighting, home décor and more.  

    Angelo Surmelis Photo

    TV personality Angelo Surmelis is a strong believer that green furnishings needn't cost an arm and a leg. Surmelis’ advice to designers and entrepreneurs starting out is, “Get behind what you love and don’t compromise.”

    All told, the panel seemed to be a crowd-pleaser - one that married a shared passion for doing what's right for our planet with what's right for our interiors.

    Tomorrow, I will be at the Designer Is In booth.  Check back as I share what is overheard when designers sit down with potential clients. 

    Images courtesy of Dwell on Design, Kathy Ireland and Angelo Surmelis.



  • Dwell on Design 2011: HOT Picks

    Dwell on Design Logo

    Dwell on Design opened today at the Los Angeles Convention Center and I was eager to walk through and see some of the new products on display.  These are my HOT picks from the show. 

    Molo Wall System Photo

    Molo modular walls enable you to create an additional room or change the shape of a space in minutes. Accordion-fold paper walls can be shortened, lengthened, or even made into arcs and circles.

    Solar Shutter

    Generating a little solar power is now easier than ever—in fact, it’s as easy as installing a window shutter. The PV Solar Shutter features solar cells set in the louvers which collect power from the sun and use a grid-tie inverter that channels the power directly into the home’s electrical system.

    Reveli Shelving

    The beauty of Riveli lies within its ability to transform into any number of functional shelving layouts.  Because each shelf pivots independently of the others, you can quickly and easily customize it to your own space…making it uniquely you and a great place to display all your stylish home décor.

    Xplory Stroller
    One interesting feature of the Stokke Xplory Stroller allows you to that elevate your baby to the height you prefer, it can even be used as a high-chair when you go to restaurants.  It is innovative, stylish and comes with lots of extras.

    In-Wall Loudspeaker

    Sound has never looked so good!  I love technology but with it comes all the wires and the time spent to make them visually appealing. Amina's Sound Unseen Loudspeaker is plastered in-wall (or in-ceiling) and reproduces high definition sound with zero visual impact to the room. You can paint right over it too!  These would pair really well with chic energy-efficient sconces. By the way, can you spot the speakers?  They on either side of the TVs and in the kitchen ceiling.

    Which of these HOT picks from Dwell on Design can you use?

    Tomorrow I will be going to some of the stage events. One of which features Kathy Ireland and Angelo Surmelis on the DESIGNINGreen Leaders panel.  Make sure to check back tomorrow for more insight into the show.

  • Five Ottomans to Take a Load Off

    Carved Base Leonardo Bench

    More 5 for Friday decorating ideas! Ottomans are small but they are big multitaskers in the home.  

    They can used as seating, tables, footstools and step stools.  Even better, they come in a huge variety of styles, colors and materials to suit everybody.  

    Which ottoman makes you want to stop and put your feet up?


    The carved base of this beautiful ottoman is the most striking feature of this piece.

    Carved Base Leonardo Bench.  $249.91

    Marcella Accent Bench

    I love the nailhead trim combined with the leg supports of this ottoman.  It's a nice combination of geometric and organic lines.

    Marcella Accent Bench.  $304.91

    Cream Round Ottoman

    Round ottomans are incredibly versatile and are perfect for floating about the middle room wherever they are needed.  Round shapes never need to be placed against a wall to fit in.

    Citation Cream Round Ottoman.  $334.91

    Modern Leather Ottoman

    The clean lines of these criss-cross legs are reminiscent of Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Chair.

    Solid Basswood and Brown Faux Leather Ottoman.  $399.91

    Classic Black Leather Ottoman Bench

    This piece is tufted, stitched and includes a hidden drawer for storage.  What more can you want?

    Black Faux Leather 48" Wide Brittany Bench.  $599.91

    For more styles, check out the ottomans on Lamps Plus.


    (Images:  Lamps Plus.)

  • Top 5 Favorite Tripod Floor Lamps

    Tripod Floor Lamp Picture

    The last few weeks I have been helping a friend complete the design of her 2-bedroom condo. The living room is just about finished, but we really need a "wow" decorative floor lamp design. I have always loved the architectural design of tripod lamps. Because the design is classic and beautiful, it is less likely to go out of style.

    Tripod lamps are available in a few different base and shade materials. I like the both the metal and wood floor lamp bases. The metal gives the lamp a more modern and industrial feel. In contrast, the tripod wood lamp base blends in with other woods in the space and can easily transition into a more traditional home. I rounded up five of my favorite tripod floor lamps. Which lamp is your favorite?

    Walnut Tripod Floor Lamp

    This design has a surveyor style tripod base with antique brass accents. Walnut Tripod Floor Lamp: $220

    Robert Abbey Shinto Wrought Iron Finish 3-Way Floor Lamp

    The Robert Abbey floor lamp design above has a clean and modern look with a large, white fabric shade. Robert Abbey Shinto Wrought Iron Finish 3-Way Floor Lamp: $423

    Black Finish Tripod 65 1/2" High Floor Lamp

    Here's another tripod lamp, this time in a sleek, overall black finish. Black Finish Tripod 65 1/2" High Floor Lamp: $300

    Nova Tripod Floor Lamp

    A similar look, but with a pecan wood finish base and a linen lamp shade. Nova Tripod Floor Lamp: $575

    Kenroy Surveyor Floor Lamp

    Last but not least, this tripod lamp has a surveyor style base with support rods topped by a drum shade. Kenroy Surveyor Floor Lamp: $152

    Want more? Check out this older post: Three for Thursday - Tripod Floor Lamps.


  • Preppy Interior Inspirations

    Retro Bathroom Image

    Made you look, didn’t I?  Yes, this 1960’s pink and green bathroom could be considered preppy to some, albeit ghastly to most.  The point is that many people don’t understand how cheerful and chic a preppy interior can be.

    Lilly Pulitzer Shorts

    As summer has just begun, I have been thinking about summer days of my youth.  I was always awash in Lilly Pulitzer shorts and pants, topsiders and grosgrain watch bands.  Never would I have thought in a million years that what I put on my back could have been inspiration for designing a home. 

    Pink Dining Room

    There is this whole movement about how fashion and interiors influence each other, often creating trends in each of these seemingly disparate spheres.  I suppose it’s true for lo and behold, a dining room in the same soothing tones found on a pair of Lilly Pulitzer Pink Flamingo shorts!

    Decorative China

    It makes sense that complimentary colors work whether covering up a pale pair of legs or where you intend to eat your leg of lamb.  Speaking of eating, nothing is more classic prep than this tobacco leaf pattern dish.  This pattern was not inspired by the shorts or dining room, as it’s classic 18th Century.  In fact, it was the inspiration for my mother and father's bedroom in 1970.  Sadly I don’t have any pictures of the room, but trust me, this pattern covered the bed, curtains and draped tables.  The result was fantastic.  Always happy, always summer. 

    Floral Bedroom

    My walk down memory lane is over, but if you think you would like to live in perpetual blue-blooded joy, here are a few tips on creating a preppy room or home.

    Room scenes courtesy of,,

    Photos thanks to Exotic Excess and

June, 2011